I was watching a show yesterday with Dave Salmoni interacting with crocodiles in Africa. He mentioned that despite the widely perceived threat to humans in Africa from crocs (unless you’re a pregnant woman defending your man, that is), they are not responsible for the largest number of human deaths by animal attack in Africa per year. That animal, per Salmoni, is the hippopotamus. (Eek – I may have to change my Christmas list.) That was surprising to me since I’ve never really thought of hippos as anything but laid back, mud wallowers. And it got me wondering what animal was responsible for the most human deaths each year worldwide.
The answer to that turns out to be the mosquito. The World Health Organization says a child dies of malaria (after being bitten by an infected mosquito) every 30 seconds. An estimated 2 million people die from malaria every year. In the U.S., we are not at risk for contracting malaria via mosquitoes. We do see a number of deaths every year in the U.S. from animals such as bees and wasps and indirectly, from deer who run in front of cars and cause accidents.